Why Did We Build Ghost Inspector?

For our first blog post, I wanted to elaborate on why we built Ghost Inspector. The simple answer is to meet, not just one, but two needs that we see when it comes to ensuring your website is online and functioning. You’ll notice in the video demo that we call Ghost Inspector an “automated website testing and monitoring tool.” Let’s talk about testing first.

Automated Browser Testing

Automated browser testing is nothing new. It’s been around for some time and there are a number of tools, libraries and services built around it. It’s come a long way and continues to improve, but in our opinion, the current process is far more laborious than it needs to be. It usually happens one of these two ways:

1. A developer must research the tools and packages available for their environment, deal with all the installation and setup, hand code tests that walk through their website, then tie them into their build process.

2. A QA person must download and install Selenium IDE, record their tests, find a third party service that’ll provide the necessary virtual machines (or setup the machines themselves), then upload and run their exported tests.

We’re certainly not against hand-coding tests. It’ll give you the highest level of precision. If you have the knowledge and development resources to do it, we’d never suggest that you abandon that practice! However, for those that aren’t on that level, we knew there had to be a better way. How about this process instead?

A developer, QA person, or anyone installs a Chrome extension, records a tests, and it’s instantly sent to a cloud service that runs it in a browser within a matter of seconds. The service not only provides an API for developers to tie into their build process, but also an interface for viewing results, comparing screenshots and editing tests.

That’s what we’re doing at Ghost Inspector and we think it’s a huge leap in the automated browser testing space.

Ok, great, but how about those businesses that don’t have a QA team, or even a full time developer? The ones that don’t have a mature build cycle or deployment system? How do they test their website’s functionality? This is the second hole that we’re trying fill.

Automated Website Monitoring

Many businesses don’t have the developer resources to create a mature building + testing + deployment system. Some of them may not even have a full time developer or source control. How can these businesses ensure that their website is online and operating properly? This is where Ghost Inspector’s continuous testing and notification features come into play.

Anyone can record simple tests on their website with Ghost Inspector’s Chrome extension. In addition to the features above, Ghost Inspector can execute these tests on a regular basis by simply setting a schedule. You can enable screenshot comparisons and email notifications. Imagine having a user continually checking the functionality of your website every hour of every day, and emailing you if something breaks. That’s what we’re doing with our monitoring features. We’re not just talking about pinging your server, or checking your HTTP status codes. We’re talking about a user adding products to the shopping cart, submitting a contact form, or logging into an account and checking various features.

Conclusion

So there you have it. We see two big holes and we’re trying to fill them with the best product possible. We’ve got a free service tier so everyone can try out our service. Create your account today.

Justin Klemm

Author: Justin Klemm

Justin is the founder and tech lead at Ghost Inspector. He's a seasoned developer with a passion for innovation. When he's not tinkering with the latest web frameworks, Justin enjoys world traveling, good eats and lots of outdoor activity.

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